For the first time since 1995, the United States in October extracted more of its own oil than it imported from abroad. That's certainly a positive, and it also has produced an interesting discussion about who is taking credit for the turn of events.
Obama administration officials say the president's push to increase fuel efficiency for cars has been instrumental in reducing the U.S. demand for gas, thereby lessening the need to import more fuel. They also say the president has promoted drilling on federal lands and offshore.
But energy industy experts have a different point of view. Philip Verleger, an independent U.S. energy analyst, said in an Associated Press story that "energy policy has not been a help, it's been a hindrance." Experts also point out that the growth in U.S. production has been largely fueled by the Bakken formation in North Dakota and growing oil plays in locations that are mostly on private and state land that the federal government doesn't control, thereby diminishing the positive role of the Obama administration.
We understand that the truth is somewhere in the middle, and we're less concerned about who gets credit than with making sure the trend continues. The less the United States depends on foreign oil the better, obviously, because it helps insulate the country from world events that could cause ridiculous spikes in gas and oil prices.
North Dakota continues to play a leading role in the nation's energy future, something that's not likely to change any time soon. The fact that this state is contributing greatly to the nation's drive toward energy independence is good news indeed.